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German election tool helps voters choose between 40 parties

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By Euronews
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German election tool helps voters choose between 40 parties
Copyright  euronews

Undecided voters in Germany's upcoming election can turn to a popular online tool to help decide between the 40 political parties running.

Voters must pick both a candidate in their constituency as well as a political party in the September 26 election to elect the Bundestag or parliament. The second vote - for a political party - is more important as it determines the parties' representation in parliament.

The online tool called the "Wahl-o-Mat" helps people to decide which party programme best matches their political views.

Voters are presented with political statements and asked whether they agree, disagree or are neutral on the positions.

It includes statements on whether motorways should have speed limits and whether voting should begin at age 16. It also asks whether people agree on phasing out coal.

"You click through this online application and keep comparing yourself to [the parties'] positions and standpoints, and in the end, you are told which party is closest to your own view," said Daniel Kraft at the Federal Agency for Civil Education.

Kraft, who helped get the tool online, says it's quickly becoming "a popular sport", which is great because it "does nothing but discuss issues".

Around one-in-four voters -- or 15.7 million people -- used the "Wahl-o-Mat" tool in the previous 2017 elections.

"This shows that if you approach politics in a playful way, then all of a sudden even party programmes are exciting and worth reading."

More than 60 million people are eligible to vote in the September 26 election which will decide which party's chancellor candidate will replace Angela Merkel as she steps down after 16 years in office.